Thursday, February 5, 2009

Palstar AT2K

Palstar makes some of the best antenna tuners out there! Last year after much research I got their AT2K model. The build quality is simply amazing. This tuner almost tunes my standard G5RV on 160 meters. It also work on 6 meters due to the smaller roller inductor. The built-in Peak-reading watt/SWR cross-needle meter works really well and with very good accuracy.

Internal picture of AT2k. Most components are manufactured in-house by Palstar, including both variable capacitors and the roller inductor. The quality of the components is impressive - everything is very solid and heavy duty - indeed "built like a tank". All solder joints are perfect.

Roller inductor, 160m inductor (toroid) and switch-in relay. The high-power balun transformer (toroid) is visible at top-right.

Load and tune high-voltage variable capacitors - top-left is the power/SWR detector, top-right is the PCB of the peak-and-hold circuit. At bottom-left is visible the ceramic rotary RF switch.

Palstar AT2K and Heathkit SB-200 in my shack. AT2K looks stylish and it is very easy to operate! The two vernier dials allow for very fine tuning.

2010 Update: The current version of AT2K was changed from the original design. As a cost-saving measure, the internal 4:1 balun (used with balanced antennas) was removed from the tuner and it is now sold separately as an external option. Another change is in the inductor - the original inductor was 18 uH and was padded with extra 10 uH inductor for 160m only. The new inductor is 28 uH, eliminating the extra inductor, relay and switch at the expense of the tuning resolution.

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